Finding a job in a foreign country can be daunting especially when the main working language in the country is not your mother tongue. This is arguably the number 1 fear for expats moving to the Austria. The good news is that YES, it IS POSSIBLE to find English speaking jobs in Austria and there are quite a lot of them. Nowadays there are always between 400 and 600 only English speaking jobs available on our platform. This number is growing and this trend will continue in the future.
The not-so-good-news is that your chances of finding an English-speaking position are highly dependent on a number of factors. Before you invest a lot of time into this, it’s vitally important that you also have realistic expectations.
The language of industry and commerce in Austria is overwhelmingly German.
If you’re in a client-facing role, then unless your job is with the export market or international customer, you’ll need to be business fluent in German unless you’re WAY better qualified and experienced than local candidates.
My best advice would be to approach this pragmatically. Why should an Austrian employer hire you? What makes you special?
There is certainly no shortage of English-speaking HR Managers, or Digital Marketing Executives, or Sales Professionals.
However, look towards the more STEM-related professions (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and the situation is very different.
Don’t chase what everyone else is chasing. You need to be more creative, strategic and cunning to bag that perfect job in a competitive market.
What do you bring to the table?
How are you unique?
Why should an employer hire you?
Factor 1: The Seniority Of The Position
This is arguably the most critical factor.
The rule of thumb is: The more senior the role, the less important it is to be fluent in German, especially in multinational, foreign-owned companies.
Why is this?
First and foremost, more senior level positions tend to play in a more international environment. If the company is multinational, these positions will interact with their peers in many different countries rather than in a single production facility or local headquarters.
Secondly, senior management and executive roles may enjoy the services of a Personal Assistant, or at least a team admin or fixer, who can deal with any office-related bureaucracy which requires proficiency in German language.
Entry-level positions and jobs which require a lot of day-to-day interaction with blue collar workers are much more likely to require German language out of necessity.
Factor 2: The Role And The Industry
Some industries and job types are by nature less dependent upon language skills.
You’re less likely to need fluent German if you work as a programmer or software engineer than if you work in a client or customer-facing role such as Sales & Marketing or Project Management, dealing primarily with German-speaking clients.
It goes without saying that any position requiring communication skills or interaction with clients, customers, and external suppliers is going to be trickier if you don’t speak the native language.
Outside of the private sector, academia, international charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are also good hunting ground for English speaking jobs in Austria. These are liberal and multicultural organisations which often have to search further afield than the local candidate pool to recruit real experts in their field.
Factor 3: The Size Of The Company
Larger multinationals are more likely to adopt English as the international language of business. This not only applies to foreign corporations but also some larger Austrian firms too.
Some of the largest Austrian multinationals, such as Erste Group or Raiffeisen Bank International are officially English speaking. Many more may not be officially but have certain departments or job functions which work primarily in English.
Medium sized, family owned businesses are much less likely to offer jobs in English, although ironically, these are the very companies that are most struggling with a skills gap for essential vacancies.
Factor 4: Your Experience
Perhaps I’m stating the obvious here but it’s going to be easier for an experienced candidate to bag an English speaking job than a fresh university graduate.
This is a “buyer’s market”.
There are way more candidates than there are well paid English speaking roles. English speaking jobs in Austria are in high demand because there are plenty of well-educated international jobseekers seeking work in Austria who don’t (yet) speak fluent German.
You do see a reasonable amount of entry-level positions advertised, especially in industries which require English-speakers to deal with the international market or which may operate in an English speaking environment. The key here though is that employers will usually want to see some relevant qualifications and work experience, so the market is tough for recent graduates with little practical experience on their CVs.
It goes without saying that the stronger the candidate’s experience, the more likely they are to get hired.
Finding English speaking Job in Austria – Useful Tipps for Expats
Be in the country
It’s much easier to land a job in Austria when you are actually living in the country than when you are applying from abroad – so don’t be afraid of moving to the country without a job lined up (if visa regulations permit this). That way you are available straight away for interviews, etc. If possible, always have an Austrian address on your CV to show that you are in the Austria.
If you are from non-EU country than apply for for some study program in Austria and obtain student visa in order to move to Austria. As a student you have a permit to work 20 hours per week which will cover your basic life expenses (regardless of the type of job you are doing).
Perhaps consider teaching English on a freelancer to gain some practical work experience and give yourself time to learn German up to B1/B2 level. This will give yourself a head-start on more experienced candidates.
Take a German course
While there are many English-speaking jobs in Austria, it looks good on your CV to show that you are at least starting to learn the language.
Add a professional-looking photo to your CV
Austrians often get professional photos taken to put on their CVs, so make sure that you have a high-quality picture of yourself before applying for jobs. This is really important and often a reason why CVs are overlooked in Austria.
Adapt your CV to the Austrian job market
Ensure your CV is formatted and structured similarly to an Austrian CV.
Quantity vs quality
You need to strike a balance when it comes to the quantity and quality of your applications. Sending out one meticulously crafted application a week is unlikely to give you the best return (unless you really are the dream candidate for a position).
In general, we recommend aiming for 3 thorough applications a day, 5 days a week. This takes persistence, but ensures that you’ll hit around 60 applications a month, in the process greatly increasing your odds of finding an English-speaking job in Austria.
Get an Austrian mobile number
As soon as you arrive in Austria, get an Austrian mobile number so that you can put it on your CV and are easily contactable by potential employers/recruiters. The more indication that you can give that you are in Austria and ready to work the better – and having an Austrian phone number definitely helps with this.
Save as much as possible before the move and delay the move to a later date if you don’t feel you have enough savings behind you. Prepare for the worst and have savings to keep you going for at least three months in Austria. Salaries are paid monthly in Austria so you could start a job and not be paid for a month, so it pays to be prepared.
Looking for a job: Check new open positions
If you focus too much on one area or sector, you may find it much trickier to find a job in Austria. Be open to other avenues, career paths and opportunities. It may not be your dream job in the beginning, but a foot in the door will often open up opportunities further down the line. Often just having international experience on your CV, even if it’s in a different field, works wonders for your career progression.
Career aside, having the opportunity to live and work in this wonderful country can be more worthwhile than finding the ‘perfect’ job.
Most common English-speaking roles in Austria
- Accounting & Controlling
- Banking & Finance
Author: Sofia Ivanov is a blogger at AustrianCareer.at. She holds a MA in international business and also contributes photography to AustrianCareer.at.